Historically the biggest challenge facing demand generation practitioners has been maintaining the integrity of their CRM and net new third-party contacts. A growing focus on account-based approaches has also put a microscope on contact data quality. Increasing data compliance pressures from GDPR, and and now accelerating with CCPA, are further necessitating a more strategic approach. As a result, data vendors need to meet higher standards, and low-quality data providers are been pushed out or scooped up by bigger, more technically savvy providers. In this context, it means fewer vendors and a significant improvement in the breadth and quality of third-party contact data.
Today’s marketers are pivoting to best connect different types of data to gain a complete customer view — in other words, seeking ways to combine first-party data with third-party sources to achieve a “richer” perspective of both the customer and marketplace. Marketers are pursuing this idea down into the stack and rethinking: a) what insights do we need, and then b) how can we best leverage them given our organization structure?
Account-Based Marketing by targeting intent
Above all else, Account-based Marketing (ABM) has been the main catalyst for change. ABM is pushing us away from the long-standing paradigm of firmographic filters (industry/company size) to focus on targeting accounts based on intent.
We can think about intent using these categories:
- Specific topical interests. When sellers know what’s on the buyer’s mind and the main drivers for purchase, they can make sure that they provide value immediately.
- Competitive insight. When you know which competitors a buyer is considering, you simplify the challenge for the sales team dramatically.
- Identifying confirmed projects or companies in-market right now. In the short term, organizations need help pinpointing active deals in their market which they can immediately pursue. In addition to their revenue potential, organizations can analyze these active deals to improve their content, sales motions, and conversations.
Moving from personas to buyer intent
Buyer intent data enables organizations to prioritize specific named accounts along with surfacing ones not originally on the radar. The result is focused efforts on accounts most receptive to outreach, which will drive efficiencies to your marketing efforts.
Best-in-class organizations are now seeking to uncover intent at the contact level. Good data solution providers will tie cold contacts to those accounts demonstrating intent. These contacts may or may not be associated with the intent activities at the organization and so this is still a ‘best guess’ scenario.
Data solution providers who can deliver account intent visibility and identify the contact creating the intent, will short-cut the target discovery process. Sales and marketing can now move away from modeled personas to focus on relevant activity. Further, in a world of increasing data privacy regulations, data providers that can ensure the contacts they deliver are confirmed opt-in contacts will set a new demand generation standard.
Four key takeaways to improve demand generation and fuel pipeline
To improve demand generation and net a robust pipeline of sales opportunities, follow these four marketing operations best practices.
- Keep your contact data in good shape. You need to implement data management strategies and processes that include continuous cleanse, append, and greenfield acquisition.
- Add third-party behavioral data so that you can focus your more aggressive marketing and sales outreach to the highest value opportunities.
- Ensure your high-spend areas (like events) deliver by targeting prospects who have demonstrated a real interest in your solution. Better data helps you geo-focus with more precision.
- Make sure you’re driving sales productivity by prioritizing accounts and prospects that are demonstrating in-market behavior.